Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Siberian Brown Bag Series: Dr. Craig Campbell - "Two Laws: Soviet Dreamworlds and Evenki Realities"

Mon, November 4, 2013 | BUR 231

12:00 PM

Siberian Brown Bag Series: Dr. Craig Campbell -

This semester the CREEES Brown Bag Series will have a Siberia theme, inspired by the “Siberian Voices” travel-study seminar that took place this summer.

Talks are held at noon on the first Monday of each month in Burdine 231 (except for the first one on Sept 16th).

Monday, November 4th – Dr. Craig Campbell,  "Two Laws: Soviet Dreamworlds and Evenki Realities"

In the late 1920s, barely a decade after the October Revolution, a group of Russian filmmakers set out to produce a silent film about an encounter between a Communist Agitator and a group of Tungus reindeer herders. This fictional film was made with consultation from the anthropologist and administrator, I.M. Suslov.  The silent film was released to audiences in both the Soviet Union and North America.  It is one of a very small group of films that represent the lives of northern minorities at this time. The paper will present preliminary research on the film Dva Zakona. This research will be framed within the broader question of Soviet representations of indigenous minorities, the development of Nationalities Policy, and the nuanced engineering of cultural practices. In addition to this film, my research examines two other films about Siberian indigenous minorities.  I will draw on film theory as well as my own research on the history of Sovietization in Central Siberia to illuminate the significant changes to social organization and challenges to world view that were underway at this time.

Craig Campbell is Assistant Professor of Cultural Forms and Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.  He received his PhD in Sociology (Cultural Theory) from the University of Alberta in 2009.  Craig is one of the founders of the Ethnographic Terminalia curatorial collective (  His research is concerned with modes of descriptions with a special focus on ethnographic and documentary images. In particular he has been exploring the possibility for ignored, overlooked, failed, defaced, degraded, manipulated, and damaged images to activate interpretive fields typically unacknowledged in conventional ethnographies and histories.  This intermedia and aesthetic approach pushes the sensuousness of the world back into an intellectual and scholarly understanding of it. Craig Campbell’s ethnographic, historical, and regional interests include:  Siberia, Central Siberia, Indigenous Siberians, Evenki, Evenkiia, Reindeer hunting and herding, Travel and mobility, Socialist colonialism, early forms of Sovietization, and the circumpolar North.  He publishes widely in journals including Space and Culture, Geographical Review, Sibirica, and Visual Anthropology Review.  His second book Agitating Images is scheduled to be published by University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2013.

Mary Neuburger designed and led the "Siberian Voices" group project abroad, which took a team of UT students, faculty, and Texas K-12 teachers on a month-long journey into Southern Siberia. Together they journeyed through Tuva, to Lake Baikal and along the Trans-Siberian Railway. The focus of the travel-seminar was to learn about Siberian cultures, history, and religions with the goal of curriculum development for current and future U.S. educators. Her talk, "Siberian Voices: A CREEES Odyssey," will give insight into their exciting journey.

For a glimpse into the "Siberian Voices" program, see the feature story on


Upcoming Siberia Brown Bags speakers:

December 2 – Jason Roberts



"Siberian Voices" was a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad funded by the Department of Education. For more information on the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, please visit

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